What to do?

tapdogly(NoVA6)May 15, 2012

To fend off deer, I have portion of my front yard fenced. I was planning to turn the area (about 1/5 acre) into a rose/perennial garden. I have a dozen or so roses in the ground, most of which were put in the ground last fall. My in-laws have come to live with us, and my father-in-law LOVES growing vegetables. Now, he wants to plan okra, tomatoes and cucumbers on my still-in-the-making rose garden. On one hand, I would love to keep the rose garden going, keep part of the lawn, and gradually add more companion plants for my roses. On the other hand, he probably enjoys growing the veggies as much as I do about roses, and it does not feel right to "monopolize" the prime real estate when I know how much fun I am having growing roses. I have decided to be supportive and let he grow what he wants, but have the following questions: How can I manage the garden so that the roses won't be bothered by these tall vegetables, which will be either on trellis or cases? Sun exposure is not an issue, and I suppose that the two other factors to keep in mind are air circulation and disease control. For air circulation, would 3 or 4 feet away from the rose bushes be sufficient space? For disease control, any special plant disease I should be on the lookout for? I only use baking soda/liquid soap for blackspot control, and will not use chemicals for either my roses or any other plants. I guess sprinkler system is a no-go so I don't plan to use it in this area. (Of course, I have been trying to get him hooked on roses as well, but so far it is not working...)

BTW, MANY THANKS to all the rosaries on the forum, whose advice has helped me a great, deal in learning about roses. One of my Louise Odiers have 6 blooms now, and everything about it is intoxicating. I just had my first Abe Darby this morning. DW says that it has a lovely fruity smell, but i have rhinitis and cannot detect anything.


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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Don't worry about diseases crossing over. Diseases are highly specialized as to host plants. For example, the powdery mildew that you see on different plants is actually a bunch of different species and races, each with a different host group.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 11:52AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Since you aren't going to be spraying with anything that can't be used on edible plants, the big thing I'd worry about is shading. I don't know how the garden is laid out to know if just keeping the tomatoes to the north of the roses is going to work, or if more elaborate planning schemes are necessary.

If you want to get a step ahead of him, try something like planting lettuce or other salad greens near the roses. They are small, aren't a lot of root competition, and like shade as it gets hotter. Hot peppers tend to be very pretty, controlled plants.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 12:35PM
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Michaelg -- thanks for the info., and it is reassuring to know.

Mad Gallica -- The lot is Southeastern facing and located in the middle of a hill and slopes downward. As long as the vegetable trellises don't go above 6 feet, my guess is that the roses and the vegetables can live in peace if not planted too close together. But maybe I should persuade him to grow single file (and along the "grain" of the slope) to immunize shading. (Because the area is "remote" enough from the street due to its elevation as well as the pines and bruces that partially block the view of the lot from the street, and also because the fence would be covered, hopefully, by my climbers, there is no danger of it becoming a neighborhood eyesore (unless you get too close). But I might have a color coordination problem. In my rose "craze", I planted Eden, Awakening, Zefferine Droulin, Blaze, New Dawn and Don Juan.)

I planted an Madam Isaac Pereire a few weeks ago and was planning to grow it as a bush instead of a climber and make it a focal point in that section of my garden. I think that if any rose may be in the harm�s way, it would be MIP, and I will have to move it�.

Yes, I was actually "stalling" him for the spaces between roses in the existing bed by growing lower-grown veggies. He brought up the possibility of growing tomatoes in the existing bed, and I have already claimed the spaces by sowing chive, arugula, and cilantro and lettuce greens. However, I think he get his thrill from the bigger vegetables, especially Okra. :) He has already had some of seeds started in pots, and there seems to be no way to dodge this one.

I am not too worries about root competition: the lawn soil is VERY rocky and poor in nutrition. As long as he does not dig holes/trenches too close to my roses, things should be fine as the "native" soil under the lawn is pretty much impenetrable.

Fingers crossed. LOL.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 2:07PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Oh don't worry - my whole allotment is a mish-mash of roses, fruit and vegetables. Shading is minimal and competition for water and nutrients is not a problem since you take the water to the plants that need it, right? Go ahead, experiment - nearly all veggies are annuals and will be occupying space for limited periods. I find having a system of slightly raised beds helpful - I say raised, but they are more delineated with long lengths of 6inch gravel boards and pegs. Using long, thin beds enables me to plant veggies without walking on the actual beds so I rarely need to dig (and damage roots). This system has been working for me for 10 years.
BTW, it is a thoughtful and generous impulse on your part - I hope you get to enjoy the fruits of your father-in-laws labours.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 3:47PM
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